48 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 106 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts    H2'ed 8/31/15

26,000+ Petition Bernie Sanders to Tackle US Militarism

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   6 comments, 4 series
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser
Become a Fan
  (89 fans)

Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen
(Image by courtesy of Jeff Cohen)
  Details   DMCA

My guest today is Jeff Cohen, co-founder of RootsAction.org and director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.

JB: Welcome to OpEdNews, Jeff. RootsAction.org recently organized a petition directed at Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for President in the upcoming election. What can you tell us about it?

JC: It's a petition offering critical support for Bernie's campaign and urging him to speak out against one of the major effects of corporate supremacy -- and that's militarism/perpetual war. His campaign has sparked so much wonderful enthusiasm and activism, especially among young people, for his critique of corporate power, wealth and income inequality, the high cost of college education, the lack of a serious climate change policy, the lack of a serious infrastructure/jobs policy, etc. And increasingly -- after some prodding from Black Lives Matter activists -- Bernie has been more centrally addressing racial injustice and criminal injustice.

But he has generally avoided the problems of U.S. foreign policy. So anyone can go to RootsAction.org and sign the petition urging Bernie to speak out -- as Martin Luther King Jr. did so eloquently in the last year of his life -- against what King called "the madness of U.S. militarism." Bernie is running on a thought-out and popular-with-voters program of providing healthcare to all, college education to all, a jobs program to help our society transform to a renewable economy. But it's hard to see how these programs are affordable when most of our country's discretionary spending goes to the military (as the National Priorities Project has shown). Billions of dollars in military spending need to be redirected to these pressing domestic needs that Bernie has so eloquently delineated. Signers of the petition want Bernie to make this argument about transformation central to his campaign.

JB: What a great idea! How's the petition drive going so far? Do you have a number you're shooting for before sending it off to Bernie?

JC: After a few weeks, the petition had been signed by more than 26,000 people -- surpassing the goal of 25,000 signers. And people are still signing it, and adding their own comments to the petition. As they should feel free to. On Aug 27, after the goal of 25,000 was reached, RootsAction formally submitted the petition (with the names and comments accumulated up to that point) to the Sanders campaign. The campaign was told that any response from Bernie or the campaign would be forwarded to all petition signers. So far, no response has been received.

JB: That's a lot of concerned citizens. Is it unusual that a candidate wouldn't include his/her position on US militarism in the platform? Can we read anything into that oversight, if that's what it is?

JC: As RootsAction.org co-founder Norman Solomon wrote in an important column, "Bernie Sanders should stop ducking foreign policy" 8/5/15, there is almost no mention of foreign policy on Bernie's campaign website. Many domestic issues are fully dealt with, but foreign policy is ignored. Bernie is more comfortable addressing domestic policy. Though he once had a critique of U.S. foreign policy (from Vietnam to Central America), he seems to have let it slip away. And that's a shame.

A critique of U.S. foreign policy today would raise questions about whether the "war on terrorism" has made our country more or less safe. The same goes for drone strikes that have killed so many innocent civilians and the policy of repeatedly sending massive arms flows to factions and governments in the Middle East and the policy of 100% support for whatever Israel does in Gaza and the West Bank.

Most U.S. progressives know that along with widening social inequality and increasing corporate control of our society, another major problem that has worsened in recent decades is militarism and endless war -- diverting billions of dollars from social needs to "national security"/mass surveillance/military intervention.

That's why our petition to Bernie pairs his photo with a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. King went to his grave decrying that the billions spent on bombs aimed at Vietnam could be better spent on rebuilding America's inner cities and other social needs. King denounced Congress in 1967 and 1968 for its "hostility to the poor" -- appropriating "military funds with alacrity and generosity" but providing "poverty funds with miserliness." Bernie has made a similar critique in the past and in the margins today.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Joan Brunwasser Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Other Series: View All 214 Articles in "Activism"

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, Arrested Tuesday at Senate Roundtable on Health Care

Renowned Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck on "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success"

Howard Zinn on "The People Speak," the Supreme Court and Haiti

Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)

Fed Up With Corporate Tax Dodgers? Check Out PayUpNow.org!

Literary Agent Shares Trade Secrets With New Writers

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend